Rigatoni with Cauliflower, Saffron and Raisins

This dish comes together pretty quickly and is a welcome departure from the usual pasta standards (not that I don’t love those too.) I wish I could remember where I got this recipe from. It’s been a card in my little recipe file for so long.

Rigatoni with Cauliflower, Saffron and Raisins

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By Who can remember? Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes

An easy yet elegant pasta dish


  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little more for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 7 anchovies, minced (I fed this to anchovy haters, they never knew)
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 2 pinches of saffron
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or a little more)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 10 fresh basil leaves, (give or take)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan cheese for serving



Place the raisins in a bowl and cover them with hot water and then set aside.


In a dry pan over medium high heat, toast the pine nuts and then set aside.


Cook the rigatoni according to the package instructions. While it's cooking, make the sauce.


Over medium low heat, cook the garlic in the oil until fragrant. Let it do its thing.


Add the red pepper flakes, anchovies, capers, saffron and chicken stock (you can also use white wine). Cook until combined.


Stir in the cauliflower and raisins and season with salt and pepper. (Remember the anchovies and capers are salty, so go easy.)


Cook covered for about 10-12 minutes. Uncover and let reduce slightly.


Add the cooked pasta and toss. Add the pine nuts and basil and toss again.


Serve with grated Parmesan cheese if you like.

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